Election expectations vs. Reality


Kevin Lu, Feature Editor

Late Tuesday night, November 8,  it was clear who was going to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump won over the electoral college with 279 electoral college votes to Hillary Clinton’s 228 electoral college votes. In the heat of the moment, as different states were updated on live maps, it may have seemed obvious that Trump was going to win. However, this outcome was quite unexpected.

Many organizations held mock elections during the week prior to election day. Some of these organizations specifically targeted student voters to see which candidate students side with the most. Although not all students voting in the mock election could vote in the actual election, people still saw the results of the mock elections as the most likely outcome of the real election. This was not the case.

Students from all across the U.S., from kindergarten to college, took part in the 9th quadrennial National Student/Parent Mock Election. The results of the mock election were released on November 6 and Clinton was declared the winner of the mock election by a wide margin of 317 electoral votes to Trump’s 221 electoral votes.

Newsela, a nonfiction and current events articles website, hosted their own mock election limited to students enrolled in Newsela classes. The polls were open from October 17 to November 1 and the winner of the mock election also turned out to be Clinton taking 57% of the 388,157 votes cast while Trump emerged from the mock election with a mere 32% vote.

Don’t trust these sources? Scholastic Inc. held their Scholastic Student Vote and about 153,000 students nationwide voted in the mock election. Scholastic has held their Scholastic Student Vote since 1940 and the results of the mock election usually closely mirror the results of the actual election. Scholastic is proud to claim that the Scholastic readers have only been wrong twice before in the Scholastic Student Vote. Once in 1948 when readers chose Thomas E. Dewey over President Harry S. Truman and again in 1960 when students voted for Richard M. Nixon but John F. Kennedy won the actual election. Scholastic is going to have to add a third time to the list because Hillary Clinton was the winner of the Scholastic Student Vote this year.

These mock elections demonstrate the upset of the actual election.  Mock elections obviously apply specifically to the demographic of educated students so they can be inaccurate in that sense, but their history of being correct lends some weight to the results. However, this is one of election upsets where the expectation was different from the reality and there is no doubt this election will go down in history (AP Gov textbooks please).